NHL Rumor Mill – December 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 22, 2022

Should the Oilers or Jets attempt to acquire Jakob Chychrun? Are the Senators interested in the Blackhawks’ Seth Jones? What’s the latest on James van Riemsdyk, Jordan Staal and Vladislav Gavrikov? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Ryan Nugent-Bowman noted that the Edmonton Oilers have been linked to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov, the Montreal Canadiens’ Joel Edmundson, the Nashville Predators’ Mattias Ekholm and the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg in the rumor mill.

However, Nugent-Bowman thinks they should attempt to acquire Jakob Chychrun. He believes the Arizona Coyotes defenseman would bolster the Oilers’ blueline and alleviate pressure from Darnell Nurse.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Nugent-Bowman acknowledged the Coyotes’ high asking price for Chychrun as well as the blueliner’s injury history. However, he pointed to his solid performance when healthy as well as his affordable $4.6 million cap hit through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nugent-Bowman doesn’t believe Oilers management shares his opinion on Chychrun. General manager Ken Holland could surprise us but I think there’s a better chance of seeing Edmundson, Gavrikov or Klingberg suiting up for the Oilers by the March 3 trade deadline.

I don’t think the Predators intend to part with Ekholm. GM David Poile is stubbornly sticking with his veterans.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jacob Stoller suggests Chychrun could be the missing piece to put the Winnipeg Jets over the top.

Along with Josh Morrissey, Chychrun would give their blueline two top-pairing caliber players. He thinks this could be this version of the Jets’ best opportunity to make a run at the Stanley Cup with Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler slated to become unrestricted free agents in 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun would certainly provide a big boost of talented skill to the Jets’ defense corps. However, I’ll be surprised if Kevin Cheveldayoff, their usually cautious general manager, pays the Coyotes’ asking price to get him.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Ottawa Senators’ re-signing of Artem Zub doesn’t mean they’re still not seeking a right-side defenseman. Friedman mentioned the Chicago Blackhawks’ Seth Jones but said it appears that was as much due diligence as anything else.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones’ hefty $9.5 million average annual value through 2029-30 aside, any trade involving the 28-year-old defenseman depends on his willingness to waive his no-movement clause. Things are rough for the rebuilding Blackhawks right now but there’s no indication Jones wants out. He could become their next captain if Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane don’t return next season.

Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers are eyeing Vladislav Gavrikov. He believes the Columbus Blue Jackets would set a high asking price for the 27-year-old defenseman, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Mark Spector elaborated that it would likely be a first-round pick plus a third or fourth-rounder.

The New Jersey Devils have a very nice right-side defense with Dougie Hamilton, John Marino and Damon Severson. The latter is eligible for UFA status next summer and his situation could be worth watching but the Devils are trying to win now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Severson’s drop to the third pairing and his free-agent eligibility has made him the occasional topic of media trade speculation. I think the Devils will hang onto him for the playoffs unless their season goes off the rails before the March 3 trade deadline.

Friedman thought Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk might make sense for the Calgary Flames. However, he no longer thinks that’s a fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk is a UFA in July and is reportedly available in the trade market. The Flames, however, are pressed against the salary cap. Even if the Flyers retained half of JvR’s $7 million cap hit, the Flames would have to move out a player to make the dollars fit.

No one is expecting Jordan Staal to leave the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal is a UFA next summer coming off a 10-year, $60-million contract. The 34-year-old center isn’t going to get $6 million annually again but perhaps he’ll accept something between $4.5 million and $5 million on a two or three-year deal to stay in Carolina.

Friedman considers the chances of the Vancouver Canucks trading defenseman Quinn Hughes to be low. He also thinks Ethan Bear will get a contract extension while a decision has to be made regarding Jack Rathbone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Quinn asks for a trade he’s not going anywhere.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 23, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the Leafs place Morgan Rielly on LTIR and the Stars’ Jason Robertson is on pace to match a franchise points record. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres snapped an eight-game losing skid by thumping the Montreal Canadiens 7-2. They jumped out to an early 3-0 lead within the first 2:13 and finished the night with Jeff Skinner scoring twice and adding three assists, Tage Thompson enjoying a four-point performance while Rasmus Dahlin and Alex Tuch each collected three points. Cole Caufield and Sean Monahan replied for the Canadiens (9-9-1) while the Sabres improve to 8-11-0.

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner (NHL Images).

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied two third-period goals to lead his club to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin picked up the win with a 35-save performance to boost his club’s record to 10-6-4. Kevin Fiala had a goal and two assists for the 11-9-2 Kings.


TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury against the New York Islanders on Monday. He’ll be sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days.

Rielly joins fellow blueliners Jake Muzzin (neck) and T.J. Brodie (strained oblique) on the sidelines. The Leafs have called up Victor Mete and Mac Hollowell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rielly’s absence is stoking trade speculation that began when Muzzin went down last month. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill update.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Jason Robertson can tie a Stars franchise record for the longest points streak (13) held by Dave Gagner when his club faces off on Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Robertson, 23, currently sits third among NHL scorers with 14 goals and 29 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson and Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger are two of the brightest young stars in the league right now. The Stars are currently second overall in the Western Conference in part because of those youngsters but they aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Hopefully, that changes as the season rolls on.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Good news for the Blackhawks as defenseman Seth Jones is returning to the lineup after being sidelined for 10 games with a broken thumb.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers provided an update on sidelined forwards Scott Laughton, Travis Konecny and Wade Allison. Laughton will miss approximately two weeks with a suspected head injury, Konecny is out 10-14 days with an injured right hand while Allison is out for two-to-three weeks with a hip pointer/strained oblique muscle.

Laughton, Konecny and Allison joined Ryan Ellis, Sean Couturier, James van Riemsdyk, Cam Atkinson and Bobby Brink on the sidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no wonder the Flyers have struggled in recent weeks.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks have called up Aaron Dell as starting goaltender James Reimer is out with a lower-body injury. Forward Nico Sturm is also sidelined as he has an upper-body injury.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins forward Trent Frederic is listed as day-to-day with an apparent shoulder injury.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 18, 2022

Why the time is now for the Coyotes to trade Jakob Chychrun, how a rising salary cap could make it easier for the Blackhawks to move Seth Jones and a look at which coaches are on the hot seat to start this season in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes the Arizona Coyotes must move Jakob Chychrun now while his trade value remains high. He suggests the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild as three potential destinations for the 24-year-old blueliner given their early-season defensive struggles.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

The Senators can draw upon their young players and/or their stockpile of prospects and draft picks as trade bait. They also have almost enough cap space ($4.1 million) to take on Chychrun’s $4.6 million annual salary-cap hit. The Sens are holding firm to what they’re willing to part with but Proteau suggests that might change if the losses start piling up.

Chychrun’s size and hockey smarts could improve the Oilers’ blueline depth and lessen the pressure on their other defensemen. Proteau also wondered if Wild general manager Bill Guerin might step up to meet the Coyotes’ asking price though they’re in the middle of a salary-cap crunch. He’s got Matt Dumba eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer.

Proteau cautions that teams interested in Chychrun could turn to more affordable options later in the season if the Coyotes don’t lower their asking price. One of them could be the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg as a playoff rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been linked to Chychrun since July. Proteau cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting over the weekend that there currently isn’t a path for a deal but that could change once Chychrun returns from his wrist injury.

The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman also suggested the Oilers could use a defenseman like Chychrun after watching their defense get picked apart by the Calgary Flames over the weekend. He believes adding a top blueliner needs to be GM Ken Holland’s priority before the trade deadline.

As for the Wild, their defense hasn’t been good but the goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson has been brutal. Guerin might consider that to be a more pressing issue if things don’t improve soon.

As always, the two big stumbling blocks in a Chychrun trade are the Coyotes’ asking price and the rearguard’s injury history. Salary cap space is also an issue for some of the teams (like the Oilers and Wild) linked to him. Until one of those hurdles is overcome I don’t see Chychrun getting traded anytime soon.


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: With the NHL salary cap projected to rise to $92 million by 2025-26, Ben Pope suggests it could make Seth Jones’ contract easier for the rebuilding Blackhawks to build around or trade by 2025. The 28-year-old defenseman is in the first season of an eight-year deal with an average annual value of $9.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on whether Jones is still playing at a level of performance that would entice other teams enough to take on his full cap hit. He would also have to be willing to waive his full no-movement clause. In the meantime, Jones isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.


THE ATHLETIC: Sean Gentille believes the New Jersey Devils’ Lindy Ruff and the Anaheim Ducks’ Dallas Eakins could find themselves on the hot seat if their clubs haven’t improved in the coming weeks.

The Ducks picked up Eakins’ option year for this season but nothing beyond that. They’ve added some decent veterans (Frank Vatrano, Ryan Strome, John Klingberg) and have some promising young talent in Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish. However, this is a rebuilding club expected to be bad again this season and that could make it tough for Eakins to maintain his job.

Ruff was booed when he was introduced during the Devils’ home opener on Saturday, which they lost 5-2. Gentille cites bad goaltending and some questionable lineup decisions behind the Devils’ woes. He also noted former Florida Panthers bench boss Andrew Brunette was hired this summer as Ruff’s assistant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No rumors yet suggesting Eakins or Ruff (or any other NHL head coach) could soon lose their jobs. Nevertheless, this is something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Those two could certainly feel the heat if things don’t improve.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2022

Are the Blackhawks shopping Seth Jones? What’s the latest on Alex DeBrincat, J.T. Miller, Nazem Kadri, Jakob Chychrun, Jesse Puljujarvi, Matt Murray and John Gibson? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch suggests keeping an eye on Seth Jones. He said the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks hope to move the 27-year-old defenseman’s hefty contract. Jones is commencing an eight-year deal with an annual average value of $9.5 million. The only way to move that is to retain some salary which would be difficult to do.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t dismiss the possibility of Jones getting traded. However, I doubt he’s going anywhere because of the reasons laid out by Garrioch. That contract is almost impossible to move.

Garrioch reports the Blackhawks seek at least three pieces in return for Alex DeBrincat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those pieces is probably a 2022 first-round pick. The Blackhawks traded theirs away to the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer for Seth Jones.

NHL WATCHER: cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussing the possibility of the New Jersey Devils pursuing DeBrincat during their latest “32 Thoughts” podcast. Friedman said the Devils want a player under a lot of team control.

DeBrincat is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer and is two years away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Friedman wondered if that would be enough team control for the Devils to part with the second-overall pick in the upcoming draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils would probably want assurances that bDeBrincat will sign a contract extension before giving up that pick and whatever else the Blackhawks want in return. The earliest he can sign an extension is when this year’s free-agent market opens on July 13.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Gustav Elvin examined the pros and cons if the Flyers were to acquire DeBrincat. They’ve been linked to the 24-year-old Blackhawks winger with speculation suggesting they could offer up their first-round pick (fifth overall) in this year’s draft. However, he cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Flyers were unwilling to part with that pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers hold two first-rounders in the 2024 draft but I think Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson prefers something more immediate.

Garrioch also reported the Blackhawks are trying to trade Dylan Strome but there are rumors the 25-year-old RFA center won’t get a qualifying offer.


THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports there’s plenty of interest in Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller with the NHL Draft fast approaching. They would prefer retaining the 29-year-old Miller but a contract extension could prove too expensive.

The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are believed in pursuit of Miller. The Rangers need a second-line center while the Capitals face uncertainty over the long-term absence of Nicklas Backstrom as he recovers from hip surgery.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal also listed the New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers among the possible suitors for Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Blackhawks with DeBrincat, I daresay the Canucks seek three pieces in return for Miller. A 2022 first-round pick will likely have to be part of it. Failing that, a couple of top prospects or a couple of good young NHL players.

Coming off a 99-point season, Miller’s trade value has never been higher. If the Canucks feel they can’t afford to re-sign him, they must move him now if the right deal is there. Waiting until the trade deadline next February risks his value declining if he fails to play up to this season’s level or if an injury takes him out of the trade market.


NHL WATCHER: cited Jeff Marek on yesterday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast wondering if the Detroit Red Wings would be a destination for Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old Colorado Avalanche center is slated to become a UFA on July 13. Marek observed the Red Wings have lots of salary-cap space this summer and it’s believed they’re really going to try and compete next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman could make a splash in this summer’s trade and/or free agent markets. He might go after Kadri but he might not fit into Yzerman’s long-term plans for the club given his age. It also depends on whether Kadri’s willing to sign with a rebuilding club.

THE SCORE: cited a report by The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger indicating the Blue Jackets are talking to the Arizona Coyotes about defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He observed Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen indicating a willingness to move his first-round pick (12th overall) to acquire a young NHL player with term remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen holds the Blackhawks’ first-rounder (sixth overall) so he can afford to move his own first-rounder. The Coyotes reportedly set a very high asking price for Chychrun, who’s signed through 2024-25. The Jackets GM might have to bundle that pick with two or three other pieces to make it work.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports as many as four teams have been kicking tired on Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi. “Sense is return is marginal at this point but things can change over the next few days.”


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s some trade buzz surrounding Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray. The Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils are among the clubs that could use some help between the pipes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury history and $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 makes him difficult to move. The Senators will have to either retain part of his cap hit, take back a comparable contract or bundle him with a quality draft pick or prospect.

The Anaheim Ducks would like to get goalie John Gibson’s contract off their books. He’s got five years left with a $6.5 million AAV and a no-movement clause which could be tough for some teams to swallow.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s AAV is $6.4 million and he carries a 10-team no-trade clause. Nevertheless, his contract won’t be easy to move. He also recently denied a report claiming he would welcome a trade. Unless the Ducks retain part of that cap hit, they probably won’t find many takers.

Ignore any trade chatter about Clayton Keller. The Arizona Coyotes see him as one of their building blocks.

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2022

The Blackhawks could test this summer’s trade market, what a Kevin Fiala-to-Islanders trade might look like, and some Canadiens’ speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Chicago Blackhawks could be a team to watch over the next few weeks in the trade market.

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones are off the table given their no-move clauses. However, management is testing the market for anyone on their roster that other teams are willing to ask about.

Friedman said another general manager compared this to when they moved Brandon Hagel before the trade deadline. “Can you make them an offer that makes them want to seriously think about it?”

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That report could make Blackhawks fans nervous about Alex DeBrincat’s future in Chicago. He’s a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, carries a $6.4 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection. The 24-year-old winger also set a career-high in points this season with 78 and matched his career-high of 41 goals.

Of everyone on the Blackhawks roster who could be available, DeBrincat is the guy who’ll garner the most interest and fetch the best return. However, the rebuilding Hawks won’t just give him away. The asking price will consist of at least a first-round pick and either a top prospect or a good young (and affordable) NHL player.

Any club acquiring him should ensure they have the cap space to sign him to a big raise after this season. Another 40-goal performance will push his value up into the $9 million per season range.


THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently mused over what it might cost the New York Islanders to make a pitch for Kevin Fiala. The Minnesota Wild winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.1 million contract. The Wild could have difficulty signing him because of their limited salary-cap space for next season.

Kurz believes any potential trade for Fiala would have to start with the Isles’ first-round pick in either this year’s draft or next year’s. He also believes they’d have to throw in a young player or prospect. He rules out Anthony Beauvillier because of his $4.15 million cap hit but suggested Oliver Wahlstrom as an alternative. If the Islanders don’t want to part with their first-round pick, perhaps a prospect such as Aatu Raty might push the deal over the finish line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Kurz is merely speculating here. There’s no indication the Islanders are interested in Fiala, especially with the secretive Lou Lamoriello as their general manager. Nevertheless, this provides at least some idea of what it might take to acquire him. The Wild can’t afford to take back much salary in a Fiala deal.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported Joel Armia’s performance for Finland in the World Championships has generated some trade buzz about the Canadiens winger.

Armia was said to be a popular name in the market leading up to the March trade deadline. He has three years remaining on his contract with a $3.4 million cap hit, which could mean the Canadiens take back a smaller contract in order to get a draft pick in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes made no secret of his intention to free up some salary-cap space this summer by shopping a veteran or two. Armia could be among his cost-cutting trade candidates.

Murphy also wondered if Ethan Bear might be a fit with the Canadiens. The 24-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenseman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Bear saw action in 58 regular-season games with the Hurricanes but was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated the blueliner might not want to return, though a lot depends on what happens with fellow RFA Tony DeAngelo and pending UFA Ian Cole this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out an interest in Bear if he’s available by the Canadiens. He could be among several affordable young options Hughes could be seeking this summer for his blueline. Murphy’s source cited Bear’s conditioning as an issue, which could hurt his trade value.